Interview with Baltimore Police Department Detective Sergeant, Meaghan Stanton (Cold Scheme, available on fictionwise, allromanceebooks.com, mobipocket and ebooksonthe.net; coming out in paperback March 2008)
FF: We’re at the Urban Bean, a downtown Baltimore coffee shop renowned for serving coffee in super-sized cups. I understand this is your favorite coffee shop, Detective Stanton?
Meaghan: They’re called buckets when you’re ordering coffee and yes, this is where I stop in the morning on my way to work – if it’s a regular work day… and believe me, these last couple weeks nothing about my work has been routine. Thanks for the coffee. (takes a sip and briefly closes eyes, sighing)
FF: Thank you for giving this interview, Detective….
Meaghan: (interrupts) Call me Meg. When I hear ‘Detective’ it’s usually my Captain waving me into his office. Not a good thing these days.
FF: Meg then. Two days ago the Police Commissioner addressed the Baltimore citizens and reassured them that the danger of ‘human bombs’ is no longer a threat. The diabolical mastermind of these explosive pacemakers, Dr. Paxton Morris, was shot at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and then yesterday another victim of exploded chest set off panic in the streets like nothing before….
Meaghan: Yesterday’s case was different. The victim’s chest literally exploded though other than trauma to the passersby, there were no casualties. All previous cases of bombs implanted in a chest were internal – implosions, if you like.
FF: Are you saying it’s a different killer…?
Meg: (lowers eyes and takes a sip of coffee) A twist on the same method or even a different method more like it.
FF: Are you saying that Dr. Morris was not the mastermind responsible for implanting people with deadly devices as means of control….?
Meaghan: (interrupts) Your message said that you wanted to interview me for a series of articles on women in non-traditional vocations although any police force these days has plenty of female officers.
FF: And the case of exploding or imploding chests is your current assignment so it falls within the guidelines. Our readers would certainly want to know how you’re handling it.
Meaghan: Then call Captain Burke and ask him to give me a reference. (snickers)
FF: But Baltimore citizens have a right to know. (thumps his chest) I have a right to know whether I stand in danger of someone implanting me with a deadly device that’ll make me into a walking dead man.
Meaghan: Then go see your doctor for a medical check-up.
FF: The second victim, Jeffries, the waiter at Prince Excelsior Hotel, lived for two years totally unaware that he’d been implanted with the device. The first victim, the economist lived even longer with the device in his chest. I’m sure in that time they’d have seen their family doctor who’d have told them – care to comment on that?
Meaghan: It’s your newspaper that called the killer a diabolical mastermind.
FF: The device is undetectable by regular means?
Meaghan: (murmuring) And probably by irregular as well. What is it you really want?
FF: How long have you been with the BPD?
Meaghan: Ten years.
FF: Straight out of the police academy?
Meaghan: (looks away and sips coffee) Something like that.
FF: And you’re a single mother…is that why you and your partner were assigned to Cold Case Unit?
Meaghan: What is that supposed to mean?
FF: (innocently raises brows) BPD Cold Case Unit does very safe work. It investigates historical cases of missing persons and yet here you are, in the midst of a scorching hot dangerous investigation of a killer who likes to turn people into human bombs. Care to comment on that?
Meaghan: The first victim of an imploded chest-bomb, Jonathan Anderson Brick, was a missing-persons case. He was our cold-case. That’s how my partner, Kenny, and I ended up heading this investigation.
FF: Until the FBI were called in – to help, of course. Special Agent Weston is now in charge of the investigation. Do you like working with him?
Meaghan: (voice edgy) Your paper did a good job of bashing the BPD for – what was it the article said…dragging their feet, incompetent…? I’m sure tomorrow I’ll see the same words applied to the FBI – right?
FF: You don’t believe reporters can be fair?
Meaghan: (snickering openly) Very often they can’t even be objective.
FF: (smiling feistily) Well then, what kind of objectivity would you want me to assign to the fact that Special Agent Weston has made your house into his working headquarters?
Meaghan: (rising) Thanks for the coffee. And if your readers by any chance want to know why I chose to be a cop, drop by my house without calling for an appointment and you’ll find out. (walks out)
FF: (commenting under his breath) That went well. I only wish I knew what buttons I’d pushed that were off limits.